Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

IMG_0137The first time I made this for my family, I made them try and guess what was in it.  They knew that it wasn’t going to be the traditional refined sugar and heavy dairy cream but they had no idea.  They knew it was rich and creamy and chocolately and wonderful, but they were totally stumped.  When I finally told them it was avocado, they were all like, “Whaaaaa ?? Avocados?  Really?!  Yup. Really.  Avocados.  Amazing Avocados and some other good stuff.

 

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

1 ripe banana- the riper the sweeter

9 pitted medjool dates

1 cup full fat coconut milk

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 big pinches Himalayan salt (or sea salt)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup of cocoa

 

Instructions

Place pitted dates in a mason jar and add water so it is just covering them  Put on the lid and let them soak for about up to 12 hours or if you can’t deal and you want them NOW let them soak about half an hour, take the lid off and pop them in the microwave for about 25 seconds so they get soft but not hot.  Drain some of the water out, leaving up to a quarter cup.

Put all of the ingredients into your blender, except for the vanilla, and blend to incorporate.   Last, add the vanilla and keep blending until it reaches a pudding consistency.

Serve topped with coconut, nuts and berries.  For added sweetness and texture, you can mix in raisins.Pudding

 

Chicken Balls Soup

Chicken Balls Soup (1)The word “balls” is funny.  I love to add it to other words because it’s just so hilarious and because I am so mature. Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer had everyone dying just using that word for over 5 minutes in the Delicious Dish.

mmmm shweddy balls

mmmm shweddy balls

I also think it’s funny to use it as an expletive.  Drop something and say “BALLS!”  Forget something, “BALLS!”  Screw up at work, “BALLS!”  You know it just feels good to swear.  You may know that this was actually tested on MythBusters years ago and they found that folks could withstand pain longer if they spewed “swear words” as opposed to other words.  I know this is true because I have given birth twice.   There’s a whole bunch of geeky science behind this phenomenon.    601191_383148001821042_667965715_n

However, having a potty mouth isn’t really something I would brag about or put on a resume, “Excellent organizational skills, proficient in Excel and cursing…”  but it does have it’s place and can help at the right time.  I for one, swear like a sailor, but that is mostly just when I am driving or giving birth.  It isn’t always socially acceptable to swear, so as an alternative, it can be fun to use ridiculous words in lieu of swear words to help us through those frustrating and painful moments, or perhaps when we are in the presence of children or in mixed company.  For example, to quote the famous Will Ferrell whose character was making an effort to keep it G as a soccer coach in Kicking and Screaming,  “Mother of PEARL!”  and also in Elf, “Son of a NUTCRACKER!”   Instead of saying “Bullshit”  sometimes I will say “Baloney Sandwiches!”   I love this form of swearing because you still experience some degree of lalochezia, (my new favorite word), but also some comic relief and  I can’t think of what could be better than that, except of course this soup I just made.

IMG_0082

And I didn’t know what in the Sam Hill to call this soup.  I could call it something  really douchey like “Asian Inspired Free-Range Chicken Soup”  or I could just call it what it is:  Amazeballs Soup!  or Incrediballs Soup! or, well, you get the picture.  It’s some really good shit.  I swear!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1 egg

¼ cup almond meal

dash of crushed red pepper

sea salt and ground black pepper

16 oz bone broth (chicken or turkey, I used turkey from my Christmas turkey)

¼ cup fish sauce

¾  cup coconut aminos

1 red bell pepper diced

3 medium carrots peeled and then peeled into “noodles” (just keep going with the vegetable peeler)

½ large or one small yellow onion, diced

about 2 large heads of broccoli cut into florets

3 cloves of garlic smashed and minced

1 tablespoon of fresh garlic, peeled and minced

sea salt and ground black pepper

1 heaping tablespoon of grass fed bacon fat or coconut oil

Instructions:

In large dutch oven, melt fat

Add onion and cook on medium for about 2-3 minutes till soft

Add pepper, dash of salt and a few cranks of your pepper mill and cook for about 3 more minutes or till soft and then add in the carrots

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl combine ground chicken, almond meal, egg, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and roll into balls, then add to the dutch oven.  Turn them as they begin to brown.

Once the chicken balls are mostly cooked through, add in the broccoli florets and turn the heat down to medium low, cover for a few minutes to allow the broccoli to steam a little.

Last add the broth, fish sauce, coconut aminos and another pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring to just before a boil, turn down to simmer for about 10-15 minutes and serve topped with some crushed macadamia nuts.  You can totally let this sit longer than that on low with the cover on it and it will stay hot for a long time.

 

 

Warm up with Paleo Cabbage Rolls

 

Cabbage RollIt has been freeeezing around here!   So cold that schools are closed today.  Right now I’d be at the gym being a beast but my class was cancelled so instead I am being a wuss all snuggled up with a blanket and coffee and feeling cozy.

The holidays are over and you know what that means – Everyone has been getting sick with the flu, stomach bug and other nasty viruses.  What better way to heal, warm up and fill up than with a hot delicious plate of nutritious comfort food!

AND… you can really do well to reduce your chances of getting sick by doing a few simple common sense things:

Eat plenty of greens at every meal all year because they are packed with all things great for a healthy digestive and immune system such as fiber, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, calcium and folate.

Avoid sugar because that is probably the worst thing for your immune system as it is void of nutrition, causes inflammation, causes weight gain, contributes to metabolic syndrome, disrupts sleep and destroys your gut.  Sugar is a huge jerk.

Get proper sleep – at least 7 hours the same times each night in the darkest room possible.  The darker the better because lights disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that strengthens your immune system.

Exercise – to strengthen your heart, lungs, muscles and bones, and reduce sickness-inducing stress.

Last but not least, avoid spreading germs with hand washing.  Use regular soap and water not antibacterial because that stuff is not any more effective and only makes the resistant bacteria more resistant.  Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t touch your face or put your fingers in or around your mouth and remind (I mean nag) your kids to stop doing that. Touching your face is a really bad habit, so stop it.  You just did it.  I saw you!

I know it can be really hard to avoid getting sick when everyone around you is sick, but you can reduce your chances and if you do get sick, your body will have the tools to fight it off faster.

So basically,  “Go to bed!”, “Eat your veggies!” and “Wash your hands!” is not just your mom or me nagging you, doing that stuff is truly vital to your health.

Speaking of veggies, I love the smell of cabbage cooking.  I know it’s not a particularly popular smell, but I have heard that your sense of smell is the sense closest linked to your memory and I associate the smell of cabbage cooking with my grandmother’s house.  So this meal is an extra comfort to me as I remember a happy time and place from my childhood.

Paleo Cabbage Rolls

1 cabbage
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 head cauliflower chopped into medium small pieces
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
3 cups baby spinach
Coarse salt (sea salt or Himalayan)
Fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Organic jar tomato sauce (pasta sauce works)
Dash of onion powder and garlic powder
1 tsp raw local honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
1 pound ground bison, beef or ground meat of choice

Place cauliflower on parchment lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and coat evenly with plenty of melted coconut oil.  Roast on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Heat fat in skillet on medium heat then add onion, dash of salt & pepper, cook 2 mins and then add bell pepper and garlic and cook a few more minutes or till starting to soften.
Add mushrooms and spinach and half a cup of roasted cauliflower and cook till juices incorporate

With a long sharp knife, cut around the core of the cabbage to loosen the leaves then remove each leaf.  It helps to run warm water between them as you go.  Pick out the best leaves for the rolls and place the “rejects” in the bottom of a glass 9 x 11 casserole pan.  These will help the rolls to stay soft and not burn. Also choose some of the larger outer leaves that you will use to place over top of the rolls so the top doesn’t burn either.

Place the remaining leaves in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes so they are soft but not falling apart and then turn them out on to clean towels.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauce pan and add the jar of sauce, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, dash of garlic and onion powder and teaspoon of honey.  Heat through on low heat.

Mix together a cup of the sauce and the meat in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper.  Mix in the cooked vegetables.

Place 3/4 cup of the meat/veggie mixture on each cabbage leaf and roll up by folding in the sides and place in casserole dish.  Spoon sauce on top of each roll, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with remaining leaves.  Now they are all tucked in and cozy.

Bake at 375 degrees for half hour to 40 mins or until you notice it start to bubble a little.cabbage rolls (1)

Mix together a salad of  baby spinach, a tsp each olive oil &  red wine vinegar, dash salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and put on your serving plates.

While the cabbage rolls are baking, reheat the cauliflower for a couple of minutes.  When the cabbage rolls are done, take them out to rest.

Place cauliflower in food processor with 2 tablespoons of turkey or chicken broth and pulse till blended.

Top spinach with a cabbage roll and top the roll with more sauce, olive oil and vinegar if desired.  Put some mashed cauliflower on the side and serve.  Enjoy!Cabbage Roll with Mashed Cauliflower (1)

It’s a Wonder Womanful Life!

lrgscaleu_20260840_Half Moon Bay_Homewares_Coasters_wonder-woman-action-hero-coasterThe New Year.  A blank page.  What have we learned from 2014 that we can bring with us into 2015 and what do we want to leave behind?  What people influenced us and in what way?  Did we make new friends on our journey toward our goals? Which friends, old or new encouraged us or did they discourage us?

One lesson that hit me in the face this year was a meme I came across which said, “Don’t chase people.  Do your own thing and work HARD.  The right people will come into your life and stay.”  I saw this about half way through this year and I decided to take it seriously because I realized that in my efforts to keep certain relationships going and to be accepted by certain people, I was chasing, and that made me feel like a lonely fool.  I decided that I was okay with being alone more, but not okay with wasting my time and the part about being a fool, well, when you are with those few special people who love and accept you for who you are, that can be wicked fun!

So I focused more on my own family and my own interests.  I had a wonderful vacation in the Adirondacks with my husband and kids,  I grew even closer to my daughters and husband and continued to work on my health.  I started the paleo life, worked out a lot more and harder, I made a PR and got a medal in a 5K, I did more yoga and worked on some meditation. I was able to stick with it and resist a lot of foods that I thought I couldn’t live without.  Like this hot delicious looking and smelling pizza.  That was not easy man.  Do you see this pizza?!  See that sauce and cheese? Ridiculous.IMG_0020I count it a victory that the only “cheat” i made over the last 9 months of paleo was a piece of birthday cake for my daughter Claire’s 13th birthday. IMG_0021 If it weren’t a beautiful work of art,  homemade by a friend with fresh and real food ingredients, I may have resisted, but I didn’t and I don’t even consider it a failure because it was the most delicious piece of cake I have ever had and I don’t regret it.  I simply file it under “Holiday Gift to Myself”, and move forward.  Also, this year,  I started this blog, which is something I never thought I would have time for.  I decided to make the best of things that I cannot change.  I stopped chasing.  I started being in the moment.  I enjoyed a quiet and beautiful Christmas with just my husband and girls.  It was agreed by all that it was the best ever and we will continue to do it every year.  I learned that I have the power to be happy.

On my journey of focusing on my own health and fitness, I made a few new friends. I am happy to surround myself with people who encourage and inspire me to be the best I can be and whom I can encourage as well.   I also realized that the old friends who are encouraging and supportive have not left me and those who are not have more or less faded out of my life.  Life is short.  It’s not worth your precious time suffering with people who bring you down or just don’t make you happy anymore.  You may always love them and care about them, but you don’t have to chase them or try to make them understand and accept you.

Looking ahead to 2015, I am taking the accomplishments, encouragement and gratefulness I have gained in 2014 with me and leaving behind what doesn’t serve me anymore.

Someone very cool made a new years resolution for me and invited me to do 27 push ups (or more) a day so that by the end of 2015, we will have each done about 10,000 push ups!  I never thought I would be able to hold a plank with good form for 10 minutes straight but I worked on that all year and by Thanksgiving, there we were, our little “plank club” holding it up for 10 minutes!

Other goals include less caffeine.  That one seems to creep up on me.  It needs to be a little boost, a treat and not a crutch.  Also, getting more consistent sleep, Eating more vegetables and a little less meat.  I want to do more consistent reading of paper books because it is so good for my mind and keeps me off the constant chatter of social media, which wastes time and energy.  I am going to make it a priority to be to work on time.  I have allowed that to get away from me because I try to fit too much into my morning.  It will require me to be more disciplined with my time.  My fitness goals include steady, consistent gains in strength.  I’d like to add more weight to my bar for squats, lunges and presses.  This time last year, my squat weight was 40% lower than it is now.  I am glad I kept a record of that so I could see my progress in a realistic way.  I worried it seemed a little obsessive to do so, but those were the voices of the haters, the eye rollers, the people who don’t get it and don’t get me and now I simply don’t care what they think.

This year I would absolutely love to have people in my life whose goals are similar to mine.  It’s been a little bit of a lonely paleo life thus far, aside from my husband and kids, the only “paleo friends” I have are on the internet,  but even so, I am going to keep with it because I thoroughly enjoy it and feel stronger and healthier as a result.  I have learned a lot about nutrition and fitness that I was clueless to before.  My family has been great and encouraging and that is a lot to say for 2 teenage girls and a man who was in passionate love with Italian bread!  I am also going to be patient with myself as I build this blog.  It is not as sophisticated as many of the great food blogs out there, but those (mostly women) have been an inspiration to me as I forge ahead with my own recipes and build my blogging skills.

I look back at 2014 with gratefulness for all I have been given and learned and improved in and I look ahead to 2015 with optimism, patience and confidence, knowing that slow and steady progress is the most successful, that being here now and mindful of the moment, doing the task at hand, and seeing the beauty right now is the best way to live and to grow.

Also, these shhhweeet adult sized Wonder Woman Underoos that my daughter gave me for Christmas, will remind me that the ones who matter most totally get me, to have fun and not to take myself too seriously.  Also to stay positive because even though I may be a middle-aged mother of 2, working at a desk all day, folding laundry, schlepping around in a 17 year old Subaru and grocery shopping, underneath it all, I know that I am freakin’ Wonder Woman!!   FullSizeRender